Here I am.
Another day, another hospital visit.
It’s early evening and I’m sitting at the foot of my gran’s hospital bed. At the moment she’s asleep, her leg twitching every now and again. Her hands are pale and slighty puffy.
We’re quite high up, on the sixth floor. It’s turned dusk. The view from the window is peaceful. The amber lights from the housing estate suggest warmth, the lines of streetlights stretch off into the distance. There’s a funfair in a mile or so into the distance, neon blues, reds and green obviously tempting the local kids to spend their money.
It’s quiet. The odd click and hum of distant machinery. Beeps and drones from various alarms. Coughs. Splutters. The shuffling of feet up and down the corridor as nurses try to go about their business without disturbing patients and visitors alike.
I’m the first one in tonight, so I sit quietly, thinking of what’s brought us here before others turn up.
Two more family members arrive. We’re spread out across the room, all three of us sitting quietly, taking occasional turns to talk in hushed tones to each other.
My gran wakes up asking what day it is. We tell her but she’s confused. She starts to fall back asleep but not before telling us we should all be in bed (it’s six forty in the evening).
A couple of minutes later we’re asked to step out while nurses check her over in private, affording her some dignity.
Standing in the corridor, we exchange some small talk with together. When we go back in she’s a bit more awake, and fighting to stay that way. After a few minutes she’s telling me off for not being at work (I finished a couple of hours ago), then tells us all off waking her up before she tries to go back to sleep.
We’re all in various stages of fatigue now. The past few weeks of visiting are weighing heavily on us but we’re not complaining. We’ve all accepted our duty, we need to do this for her.
I find little things niggle and irritate me, not on purpose, just because I’m tired and concerned, as we all are. I’m trying to meditate on an evening to help me deal with this, to help keep things in check, to keep things controlled. The last thing I need is for my moods to darken.
My youngest sister has been taking most of the visits recently. My dad was handling double visits every day until he fell ill a couple of weeks ago. His health hasn’t been great himself, the constant travel to and from wearing him down until he was advised to rest.
It’s been five and a half weeks now for her. She even managed to get out for a night into a home where they were going to assess her before working out what physio to do. The next day she was back in via an ambulance, this time into an infection ward where they’re monitoring her closely. Infection after infection after infection.
I worry, we all do. Five and a half weeks of fighting and she’s still going. Muhammad Ali has nothing on her. I think she’d show Mike Tyson a thing or two too. When Trump heralds us all into the great nuclear rapture only a few things will be left on this planet. Cockroaches. Keith Richards. Ozzy Osborne. And my gran.
She tries to remain lucid and cognisant. Each minute feels like a body blow to me. Sometimes I feel myself fighting my emotions, trying to remain positive no matter what. It was hardest the first week she was in, your brain and heart telling you to fear the worst. Now we sit and feel each second pass by.
Time waits for no man, it is the enemy of us all. No matter who we are, no matter what we do, we all have that internal clock counting down.
Tick tick tick….